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Lapsing Into a Comma: A Curmudgeon's Guide to the Many Things That Can Go Wrong in Print--and How to Avoid Them (Anglais) Broché – 1 septembre 2000

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Bill Walsh is the copy chief for the Washington Post's business desk. He also runs a website,, where he answers questions about style and grammar.

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Première phrase
I've written a stylebook that I hope makes the following point: Be skeptical of stylebooks. Lire la première page
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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index | Quatrième de couverture
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 46 commentaires
86 internautes sur 90 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
An interesting and convincing book 28 décembre 2000
Par Kristin S. - Publié sur
Format: Broché
After having "the media are" drilled into my head through four years of journalism school, I screamed when Bill Walsh said it's OK to say "the media is." However, I have to admit he has a point, and he states it well.
Walsh says it is difficult to "truly understand the reasons behind the rules -- and therefore know when they should be ignored." He knows enough about grammar to be able to give legitimate reasons for ignoring some rules.
This is not your grandmother's grammar. "Web site" vs. "website" and "e-mail" vs. "email" are the subjects of several rants. And Walsh casts his blessing on split infinitives and sentences beginning with conjunctions.
Throughout these grammar and style lessons, Walsh's writing is interesting, fresh, convincing, intelligent and, yes, funny.
This is a book for grammar-geeks and grammar-phobes alike.
64 internautes sur 70 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
The perfect book! Well, it's really good, anyway. 8 août 2000
Par MLPlayfair - Publié sur
Format: Broché
I admit it -- I'm one of those people who can sit in a cornerreading a book on grammar and be perfectly content for hours. I'm also one of those lucky enough to have stumbled across Bill Walsh's Web site...several years ago. Here in this fabulous book he has transferred most of the good advice from his Web site, so that I can now carry it with me wherever I go. (Would I actually do that? Hmm ...)
Bill makes the subject of grammar not only readable, but fun. Yes, I said "fun"! He argues against some of the "silly taboos" of ancient grammatical rules, but he also makes suggestions about when to go along with the rules even if they don't make sense, "if only to avoid the scorn of the misinformed legions." His examples are often hilarious: "Individuals who need individuals are the luckiest individuals in the world"; "Why does Paul McCartney want me to live on his piano?" (You'll have to look in the book for an explanation.)
No, I'm not on his payroll, but I am in his debt. I've used his advice to help me decide how to rewrite a sentence (I don't always agree with him, but it's a real rarity when I don't) and used his examples to add humor to my day. Once you get the book, don't be surprised if you look up how to use a semicolon and find yourself still reading the book a half hour later, chuckling all the way.
27 internautes sur 30 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A necessity for all editors 28 juillet 2000
Par Erica - Publié sur
Format: Broché
Every copy editor (and many who think they're copy editors) should own and faithfully read and reference this book. "Lapsing into a Comma" has the same wit and humor previously found on Walsh's Web site The Slot, and keeps things in a clear and concise fashion that anyone (and by that I mean non-grammar people like myself) can understand. The book answers several questions the AP Stylebook just doesn't cover, and clarifies several things the stylebook does cover.
14 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
An engaging read 7 mars 2002
Par Jeffrey Leeper - Publié sur
Format: Broché
Bill Walsh is the copy desk chief (business desk) for the "Washington Post." He explains his background in journalism and refers, at times, to the AP style. Don't let this mislead you. Even though a few items are related directly to newspapers (like the section on headlines and captions), the wealth of information is helpful to anyone trying to better his or her writing.
With many grammar textbooks, the reader tries to understand correct grammar and punctuation with rules explained in a confusing manner. The reader will re-read the rule a few times just get the basic idea. In Walsh's book, I found the explanations clear, witty, and helpful. I found his explanations and examples help me in developing my ear for proper grammar.
In the latter half of the book, Walsh has a stylebook with many common errors in writing. Granted, some are so specific that I don't know if they would help me (like knowing that it is Elisabeth Shue and not Elizabeth Shue). Nonetheless, I feel stronger about my grammar skills after reading this book.
I would recommend this book to all people wishing to improve their grammar skills.
11 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A Stylebook That Makes You Skeptical of Stylebooks 21 avril 2008
Par doomsdayer520 - Publié sur
Format: Broché
In his first sentence of his first chapter, Bill Walsh quips that the point of his stylebook (style book?) is to make you skeptical of stylebooks. He's right that existing stylebooks are inconsistent and often ruinously outdated, but there's reason to be skeptical about this here guide as well. Walsh is a longtime (long-time?) copy editor (copyeditor?) in the newspaper business, so the reader certainly benefits from his practical experience. Walsh has plenty of entertaining anecdotes about mistakes and poor decisions made by writers and editors when they try to follow established stylebooks to the letter, and he also has plenty of useful pointers on how tricky matters of grammar and punctuation should be done correctly. Unfortunately, in the end this book does little to alleviate the ongoing style difficulties that Walsh brings to light, albeit in his usually engaging and curmudgeonly fashion.

While he admits that his examples of editing issues are arbitrary and merely meant to highlight his biggest pet peeves, one must wonder how such examples benefit the serious reader. Granted, some are entertaining, like the proper way to cite a Playboy Bunny vs. the Playmate of the Month. But some are too curmudgeonly for true usefulness - Walsh should probably get over his annoyance with improper pluralization of the Airborne Warning and Control System; and some are just plain bizarre - like Walsh's weird obsession with the use of "Star Wars" for films other than Episode IV. A more fundamental problem is Walsh's inconsistent opinions on the evolution of language over time. Sometimes he's for it, but other times he becomes the type of strict anti-change language snob that he cracks jokes about earlier in the book. And whenever Walsh comes across a situation in which there is no established style rule, he just gives what he freely admits is the solution that he prefers, as a matter of opinion. But how does this really solve the underlying problems with stylebooks that are the point of most of Walsh's endeavor?

This book is good for some laughs about weird mistakes and snooty editors in the newspaper biz, with some useful solutions to common difficulties. But Walsh's larger goal of instilling skepticism about stylebooks has worked a little too well for his own good. [~doomsdayer520~]
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